Newsletter 8 May 2013

Gatsby Drinking Ideas, Retro Restaurants, Cocktail Kit Competition plus the latest foodie news!

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News & Events…


1617 Newsletter 8 May 2013

Background Bars @ Dalston Roof Park, E8

The Background Bars team has returned to Dalston Roof Park to create an imaginative locally inspired pop-up bar to while away the summer.  Expect cocktails that draw on the venue’s edible garden shaken with a variety of teas. They have also introduced local breweries and cold-pressed cider merchants.  Street food vendors have been invited to feed the crowds, including The Wing Men and Franks Franks, whilst entertainment comes in the form of free weekly film screenings, unplugged sessions and deep house DJs.  Open Tuesday-Sunday.

RAW Wine Festival, Brick Lane. 19 & 20 May

RAW is one of the largest and most exciting collections of natural, organic and biodynamic wine artisans ever to come together in the capital. The two-day celebration is organised by Isabelle Legeron MW – the first Master of Wine to focus exclusively on natural wine – and offers visitors the chance to sample over 1000 different wines from more than 200 growers.  As well as tastings, the show features talks from the world’s leading experts and a selection of incredible food by renowned artisan food producers and restaurants.  Tickets are £20 in advance from

The Slider Decider @ The Gun, E14. 16 May

Patties are under construction, buns are being glazed – battle is about to commence for London’s tastiest tournament, The Slider Decider.  25 of the UK’s finest chefs will gather at the Docklands pub to pit their slider skills against each other, including a Harissa-spiced mutton sliders from Duck & Waffle and an Iberico pork & foie gras burger from Opera Tavern.  Tickets cost £10 including a bottle of beer and two sliders, as well as the chance to try some of the contestants’ creations.  To book your ticket email or call 020 7515 5222

1618 Newsletter 8 May 2013 The Candlelight Club presents The Great Gatsby, 10-11 May

With a 1920s speakeasy style – completely lit by candles – and their clandestine approach of locating in a secret London venue, The Candlelight Club has long had a reputation for indulging revellers in reviving the glory of the past for their parties.  Their event to celebrate the release of the Great Gatsby will bring to life this quintessential Jazz Age tale of glamour and hedonism with cocktails that feature in the novel, guests dressed in their dapper best and DJ’s and live bands to keep the party swinging.  Tickets are £15.75 from

Great Gatsby Pop-Up @ Harrods, 9-20 May

Courvoisier and Stolichnaya are set to celebrate the resurgence of the Roaring Twenties with a Great Gatsby Pop-Up.  Visitors to the Harrods Wineshop will be immersed in the glamour of the epoch by savouring the fine flavours of Courvoisier with Brandy Crusta cocktail samples and classic Stoli martinis alongside the Jazz sounds and art-deco style of the Gatsby era.


New Openings…


1616 Newsletter 8 May 2013 Bird of Smithfield , EC1

With over 15 years heading the kitchen at The Ivy and as a former Group Executive Chef at the International Soho House Group, Bird of Smithfield is the long awaited solo venture by Chef Alan Bird.  Set within a five story old Georgian town house, diners can expect classic British design featuring Harris Tweed and herringbone fabrics, a cosy lounge bar, a basement cocktail bar and a roof terrace over- looking the towers of Smithfield market.   The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the influence British food has had both historically and presently.   The drinks offering should provide cause for excitement too, with live music nights and cocktails created by bar consultancy Fluid Movement of Purl fame.

Stories, E8

Mothership Group, the team behind The Book Club and Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, has landed in Broadway Market for its latest launch.  Like its sister venues, Stories provides a laid back and creative approach to socialising by teaming daytime brunching and delicious cocktails with a programme of special events and contemporary art.  Ideal for the modern East London resident, Stories provides a daytime hub for freelancers to meet, eat and work as well as fun evening bolthole to forget the toils of the day.  There will be no shortage of inspiration for creative types either, with walls that are brought to life with projected art installations.

1620 Newsletter 8 May 2013
Retro Feasts, W1

Retro Feasts has launched in Mayfair by Mark Fuller to indulge your guilty pleasures for classic British food of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s.  Most curiously, Luke Thomas – famed for being the youngest head chef in the country, with just 19 years to his name – has been tasked with creating 21st century updates of dishes from a time before he was even born!   Diners can expect everything from Prawn Cocktail and Sweet & Sour Chicken to the iconic kitsch dessert, Black Forest Gateau.  Classic fruity cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise and Pina Colada have also been included for the full 80′s experience.  Visit between 8-12 May and you will even pay 1983 prices!

Shoryu Ramen, W1

Having launched its debut restaurant on Regent Street last year, Japan Centre’s Shoryu Ramen has opened its second restaurant on Denman Street.  The new outpost will offer the their renowned selection of Tonkotsu Ramen, as well a range of authentic Japanese side dishes including Gyoza Dumplings, Soft Shell Crab Tempura and the ever-popular Hirata Buns filled with a choice of belly pork, chicken, salmon or prawn tempura.

1619 Newsletter 8 May 2013

The Great Northern Hotel, N1
The Great Northern Hotel, the world’s first great railway hotel, has re-opened for the first time in almost 12 years following a comprehensive £40 million renovation programme.  Located between King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International, the Grade II listed building houses food offerings overseen by Mark Sergeant, including their all-day dining restaurant, Plum + Spilt Milk.  Mark will also be charged with providing a stellar menu at their glamorous GNH Bar.  Evoking the sleek lines of twenties Art Deco and the cut-glass brilliance of the Belle Époque, GNH Bar serves breakfast from 7am, light bar bites from noon then changes gear for evening meetings, cocktails and stolen glances till late.

1920′s inspired drinking…

1622 Newsletter 8 May 2013 Cutty Sark Whisky

Despite being produced in Scotland, Cutty Sark was actually withdrawn from the UK market around 10 years ago.  However, with the resurgence of all things Prohibition-era, the whisky that was originally created as an easy-drinking whisky for the 1920s cocktail set has returned to our shelves.  Indeed, Cutty Sark was actually one of the most popular whiskies to be smuggled into America during Prohibition and has ingrained itself into US culture with director Martin Scorsese featuring it in many of his productions, including Goodfellas and Boardwalk Empire.  With its clean, fresh and delicately floral notes Cutty Sark is the kind of tipple that you could easily polish off over a night with friends or get adventurous with cocktails.  Widely available for around £18.

Remy Martin Coeur de Cognac

1623 Newsletter 8 May 2013 Once upon a time, Cognac was a go-to mixing spirit and it was in the early 1900s that all-time classics such as the Sidecar cocktail really came to prominence.  Fast forward to the 21st Century and Remy Martin has created a contemporary style of Cognac that particularly lends itself to classic cocktails.  Coeur de Cognac is a blend of eaux-de-vie distilled from grapes grown in Grande and Petite Champagne, the most prestigious vineyards in the heart of Cognac.  Once distilled, the spirit is then aged to reveal a mild fruity flavour – including particularly prominent peach and apricot notes – that is delicious neat but also brings cognac cocktails to life.  With its wonderfully smooth character and stylish bottle, Coeur de Cognac provides a modern appeal to this most traditional of spirits.  Around £40 from good spirits retailers.

1624 Newsletter 8 May 2013

American Honey by Wild Turkey

Despite the Prohibition laws effectively banning alcohol, it was during this period that American whisky (particularly bourbon) made its mark on cocktail culture.  More recently, many of the major distillers have turned to honey to give their classic whiskies a modern twist.  Famous bourbon distillery, Wild Turkey, started the trend with their American Honey whisky and for us, their effort is still the best.  American Honey retains the taste of straight bourbon but introduces subtle notes of sweet honey, caramel and orange giving it a smoother finish.  With sweeter drinks always more popular in the summer months, it’s ideal to sip on over ice or as a long refreshing drink with ginger beer and lime.  Around £24 from good spirits retailers.

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1625 Newsletter 8 May 2013